On the occasion of the first International Day for Women in Maritime, IMO-WISTA Women in Maritime jointly launched key findings of their survey, providing data of the current gender diversity across the sector and setting a benchmark for progress.
According to data from the newly- published 2021 IMO-WISTA Women in Maritime Survey Report, gender diversity in maritime is extremely fragmented by sector. The data demonstrates that women account for only 29% of the overall workforce in the general industry and 20% of the workforce of national maritime authorities in Member States.
Benchmarking the current state of the sector is vital to measure results. The Women in Maritime Survey 2021 shines a spotlight on areas in which IMO Member States and the wider maritime industry are performing well – and, more importantly, those where additional attention, resources and encouragement are needed. By actively empowering women with the requisite skills, maintaining a barrier free working environment, we create truly sustainable systems of gender equality.
…IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said.
-The survey was conducted in 2021 through online surveys sent to IMO Member States and companies.
-The survey is one of the activities under the 2020 IMO-WISTA Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on promoting greater diversity and inclusion through enhanced cooperation activities in the maritime sector.
-According to data gathered from Member States, search and rescue teams in national maritime authorities accounting for significantly fewer women staff (just 10%) as compared to female diplomats (33%) and training staff (30%).
-Industry data shows that women seafarers make up just 2% of the crewing workforce and are predominately found in the cruise sector, while in shipowning companies, they made up 34% of the workforce.
“As a first snapshot, this survey gives telling evidence of how much work still needs to be done. But it also shows us where there are a few bright spots. The maritime industry can see for itself which sectors are pushing ahead with diversity, and which are not.”, WISTA International President Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou added.
IMO and WISTA intend to produce future Women in Maritime survey reports to measure progress and serve as guidance for appropriate allocation of resources and capacity building by various stakeholders. Other initiatives under the IMO-WISTA MoU include developing a database of female experts in a wide range of maritime subjects who are available for speaking engagements. This will contribute towards more diverse panels at maritime conferences and conferences beyond the sector.
The report mentions that of the 45 Member States who provided data, 41 have already introduced measures to ensure gender equality within their recruitment and promotion process. Some of these measures do not involve any financial resources, such as the neutral use of language in job applications or having a diverse interview panel. At the same time, half of the responding Member States said they ensure pay equality for positions, which is an important step for retention of staff in the maritime industry.
Among the many interesting findings, the report concludes that more work also needs to be done to encourage women to enter into technical roles within the maritime industry. The survey data found that 14% of staff in those core roles are female – a long way away from a balanced gender split. The maritime industry needs to be made attractive to women throughout their career stages – with clear opportunities to develop from junior positions to leading figures within the industry.
Furthermore, a study done by consultancy KPMG among 3,000 professional women has shown that “86% of women report when they see more women in leadership, they are encouraged they can get there themselves. 83% of working women know the steps they take in business today will help set the stage for future generations of women in business. And 76% of working women plan to personally take active steps to help other women advance in their careers.” This clearly shows that given the opportunity, women can and want to make a change to develop an inclusive and equitable maritime industry.
Congratulations to IMO and WISTA for taking this initiative. While the numbers are still not at parity, they are on the rise! Twenty years ago, the number was less than 10%. While we have a long way to go, we are getting there!!